This is a great time saver, and is nearly as good as the laborious version. Feel free to experiment with any ingredients to mix into the base recipe, the possibilities are endless (meat, veggies, herbs, etc.). I have listed a few of my favorites. Most ingredients can be added and cooked into the risotto. Some things are better stirred in after it is cooked. I have tried to list which ones I would add at the end in the directions. Please note: nutrition facts include the optional ingredients for all 4 variations.
- 3 cups chicken broth or 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice or 1 cup carnaroli rice
- fresh ground pepper
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine, heated
- parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Optional Variation 1
- 3 ounces low-fat smoked sausage (1 link) or 3 ounces any other sausage, cubed (1 link)
- 1 cup tomato, chopped
- 1 cup peas
- 1⁄4 cup chives, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Optional Variation 2
- 1⁄4 cup green onion, sliced
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 5 ounces lox, cubed
- 1⁄4 cup dill, chopped
- nonfat sour cream or light sour cream, for serving
Optional Variation 3
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 lemon, zest of (I use a microplaner)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 10 ounces mushrooms, sliced, sauteed
Optional Variation 4
- 1⁄2 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
- 1 cup shiitake mushroom, sliced, lightly sauteed
- 1⁄2 lemon, juice of
- 1⁄2 lime, juice of
- 1 teaspoon truffle oil, plus more
- truffle oil, to drizzle on top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish (I like to use a lasagna pan). Once oven is at temperature, place baking dish in oven to heat.
- Bring broth to a boil, and hold at a gentle simmer.
- Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and other vegetables (if making one of the vegetarian versions). Continue cooking until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until it is evenly coated with the oil, and is toasty (a minute or two).
- Transfer rice to baking dish, add simmering broth, pepper to taste, optional ingredients, and stir. Use your judgment on what ingredients would be better to add after it is cooked (like herbs, the lox, spinach, tomatoes or sautéed mushrooms). Cover tightly with foil and return pan to the oven. Bake about 17 minutes.
- Uncover and stir in the heated wine; cover again and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. You are checking to see that most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove and stir in optional ingredients. Top with parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.